No trip to Northern California would be complete without sampling one of the state's best known and oldest beers, Anchor Brewing's Anchor Steam California Common Ale. The granddaddy of the craft beer movement, this beer was one of the first that truly opened our eyes to what American beer could be -- and we're happy to see that approximately 25 years after we first tasted it, Anchor Steam is still holding its head up proudly.
The beer poured a crystal clear copper color with a bright white head that left behind considerable lacing, even on the plastic airline cup from which this beer was drunk. Anchor Steam smelled primarily of caramel malt, with the mildest touch of hops just barely noticeable.
Smooth malty goodness dominated the flavor profile; floral and hop notes also shone through. Anchor Steam could be the perfectly balanced beer: it was medium-bodied and tingly on the tongue. An American classic: A-